More rumors and news from around MLB, which touch upon the Chicago Cubs…

  • Frequent guy-who-is-discussed-as-a-possible-Cubs-target-but-isn’t-necessarily-a-real-target, Grady Sizemore, comes in for some evaluation from Ken Rosenthal. The evaluation? “Sizemore likely will sign with a high-revenue team that is willing to give him approximately the value of the $9 million club option that the Indians declined.” I can’t imagine a team that will guarantee Sizemore $9 million for 2012, but, if one does, let’s up it isn’t the Cubs. Sure, Sizemore is an attractive reclamation project, but, with just 104 games total played in the last two years (in which he had a .560 and .760 OPS), it’s hard to see a wise team leaping forward to sign him to the kind of big-money contract that guarantees him a starting spot. Doing that is just asking for disappointment.
  • Another favorite player to discuss: Mets’ third baseman David Wright. The Mets will consider shopping the soon-to-be 29-year-old this Winter, knowing that 2012 is probably not going to be a competitive year for the Mets. Because of the Cubs’ hole at third base, you can expect to hear Wright’s name from time to time, but there are issues: (1) he’s under contract only for 2012, a year the Cubs might also not be competitive, (2) he’ll make a hefty $15 million for that year (plus a $16 million mutual option in 2013 with a $1 million buyout), and (3) he’s had back problems. Still, his stellar defense and presumed production away from Citi Field would make a lot of teams smile, including the Cubs.
  • For what it’s worth Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says it’s unlikely Wright would be dealt this Winter. He sees next Summer as more likely.
  • The Baltimore Sun says the Orioles are unlikely to look at Carlos Pena because his style – low BA, huge power, many walks, many Ks – is too similar to Mark Reynolds, whom the Orioles will presumably keep for 2012. Seems an odd rationale, but how the market for Pena develops over the next couple of weeks could determine whether the Cubs are willing to chance offering him arbitration for 2012 (in the hopes he’d decline and sign elsewhere, netting the Cubs a draft pick).
  • Nick Cafardo confirms something Ken Rosenthal said last week, namely that the A’s will consider trade offers for some of their top-line players, including starter Gio Gonzalez. The lefty, who just turned 26, is coming off back-to-back excellent seasons, in which he posted an ERA+ of 127 and 130. As a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration eligible for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 before finally becoming a free agent in 2016. You don’t need me to tell you it would take a haul to get him from the A’s – possibly even more than the Cubs gave up to get Matt Garza. And, if that’s the case, I’m not sure the Cubs have the ammo. Something to consider on Gonzalez, though – over the last two years, he kept walking guys at a huge rate, and struck out fewer guys than he usually does. So, how did he get so good? He gave up way fewer hits and home runs than he did in his first year and a half in the league. His BABIP against was an incredibly good (lucky?) .277 and .288. Sure, maybe he’s one of those rare pitchers whom batters just can’t seem to square up and hit a line drive, or maybe he was pretty lucky in 2010 and 2011. Time will tell.
  • Today the Kansas City Royals sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Giants for lefty Jonathan Sanchez and so-so pitching prospect Ryan Verdugo. The move is an interesting one for the Royals, who may have felt pressured to move Cabrera to open up a spot for center field prospect, Lorenzo Cain. Cabrera had an excellent offensive 2011 – his 121 OPS+ was actually his first above-average year – and just turned 27. He’ll have another year of arbitration eligibility, and will probably make something in the $4 to $5 million range. Sanchez, who turns 29 this month and could make as much as $6 million in his last arbitration year in 2012, had his first above-average year in 2010, before reverting in 2011 (and succumbing to injuries). Perhaps it’s a statement of the weak starting pitching market, a statement about Cabrera’s below average defense, or a statement about how much the Royals like Verdugo, but, whatever the case, the Giants appear to have done well.
  • Free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who could theoretically become the subject of Cubs’ rumors if Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd is dealt (the assumption being that top prospect Brett Jackson has an outfield spot locked up for 2012), is expected to get at least a three-year deal. Though decently productive, Cuddyer will be 33 next year, and I doubt present management will want to commit to three mid-30s years of Cuddyer at a decent annual rate.
  • A funny picture, but there’s not a whole lot of reasonableness in this suggestion:

  • Stinky Pete

    You know, i jumped on the Jimmy Edmonds bandwagon when he was hitting for us.  But to erase everything about TLR and root for him because he’s on our side?  I really don’t think I could do it.  Not that it’s going to happen.  Just sayin’.

  • Rancelot

    Much has been said about not wanting to “do this the Boston way”…now, I’m not one for petitions but I will lead the initiative to avoid the LaRussa/Pujols scenario. No way in hell would I sign up for the magic/voodoo/soul snatching ways that are attributed to the “Cardinals Way”. NO THANKS!!!

    • Jim

      I’m with you on a NO to LaRussa. The last thing we need when we win the World Series is Card fans (and White Sox fans to some extent) saying we did it with their former manager.

  • Kyle

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sizemore get $9-10 million. I’ve seen his name attached to at least 10 teams already this season. Pretty much everyone sees him as a potentially undervalued player, which suddenly means he’s not undervalued anymore.

    A million no’s to Wright. His defense fell apart a few years ago and he’s been at -10 UZR for three consecutive years, and the other major defensive metrics have him in the same area. He’s injury prone, will cost $15 million, is bad defensively and been known to have the occasional stinker offensive season. He’s like Aramis Ramirez except instead of just costing us money he also costs us trade value.

    Cuddyer is a Type A free agent, iirc, and that to me disqualifies him for the Cubs. He’s not a bad piece, but at this point I’m not willing to give up the No. 6 pick in the 2nd round for him. I’d rather sign someone a little worse and keep the pick, or a lot better if I’m going to give up the pick.

    I think you nailed the A’s Gonzalez. He’ll command at least as much as Garza, and I’m not sure the Cubs are in position to give that up, and I’m not sure I even like him *that* much considering some of his peripherals being good but not great.

    • Brett

      And $9-10 million is too much for a team like the Cubs to spend on a guy like Sizemore, right?

      (I just want us to agree on a few more things today – I feel like we’re in a rut of disagreement. Gonzalez is a good start. Let’s get together on Sizemore, too.)

      • Kyle

        I’ll work on agreeing more too :)

        Well, let’s put it this way. If it’s the end of the offseason, and about four dozen other guys I want are gone, and it’s a choice between $9 million to Sizemore for one year and Tyler Colvin/Marlon Byrd platoon in RF, then I guess I’d do it.

        But otherwise, yeah, that’s not even on the radar for me. With about $40 million to spend and gaping holes at 1b, 3b, and the starting rotation, you can’t afford to spend 20-25% of it on an outfielder.

      • CubFan Paul

        there’s no way Sizemore gets anything close to $9million ..with incentives he’ll be lucky to get $6million

  • Mike F

    While I don’t think Theo and LaRussa could coexist, it would be an intriguing situation. And it has the added bonus that if they had any interest in Sandberg, that could then pave the way for a couple of years under LaRussa, LaRussa is of an age that he’s highly unlikely to manage long. But it’s not going to happen, less likely than Maddon which is much less unlikely than the unlikely Tito.

    Think you’re all right about Gonzalez, while he’s a very attractive pitcher, they don’t have the stable to absorb another Garza like deal, at least on the surface. A free agent is more likely I would think then giving up 3 or 4 prospects. And to get a top line pitcher, let’s face it you will start with McNutt, Lake and Szcur. Probably would have to add in a Barney or Marshall. Albeit, I am not opposed to trading any of those people or maybe 2 for the right guy, just not for loading all for a player like Gonzalez.

  • Toosh

    Meanwhile, the Cubs could give up a lot less than they did for Garza and get Jurrjens AND Prado from the Braves. Two holes filled.

    • Brett

      Those are some tires I’d definitely kick if it was a lot less than what it took to get Garza.

      • Toosh

        The Braves wanted 2 prospects from the Braves for Jurrjens and Prado. One was the Royals’ top prospect. The Cubs should call the Braves and make a similar offer. 2 for 2. If it’s one or two of their top prospects, so be it.

        • Luke

          I think the Cubs have to hold back Cashner from any deal, just for depth reasons. The goal is to add major league arms, not tread water. So…

          McNutt, Lake, and Beliveau? (Probably a little steep for the Cubs.)
          Dolis, Szczur, and Maine? (I wonder if the Braves would take Ha instead of Szczur in this package.)
          Castillo, Vitters, and Rhee? (Rhee could be good, but he’s probably two years away.)

      • CubFan Paul

        Brett do you know anything about the Braves 2012 rotation? i was reading a keith law chat (i think it was him) & he mentioned Delgado, Teheran, Vizcaino & Medlen ..if their big league rotation doesnt include these 4, then the Braves are loaded

        • Brett

          The Braves could deal Jurrjens (after dealing Lowe) and still have one or two too many starters. That’s how insanely deep they are at the ML/ML-ready level.

          • Ron

            I wonder what their rule 5 type players look like.

            • CubSouth

              Prado is an excellent super utility player but when he started in Lf the whole season last yr, his defense was shaky. JJ had a great start last yr and would be a great pickup but not for a top prospect. Like Brett said, they have an abundance of pitching and I do mean an abundance, so they can risk losing JJ for an above avg prospect. They will b needing a 3b soon so im sure they will wanna look at Lake or Lemahieu for a trade.

  • johnbres2

    the thought that LaRussa would leave the Cardinals to go the Cubs is probably the stupidest idea I have ever heard

  • rbt

    Re the Sanchez / Cabrera deal, I think the Royals did better than the Giants. Other than this year, Cabrera has always been below average. And, fueled by a career-high .332 BABIP, nobody believes this year was real. Big time regression candidate. The Royals did well buying low on the guy, then turning around and selling high. Just exactly the sort of thing they need to do.

    • Brett

      I don’t mean to say Cabrera is a great player or a lock to continue his improvement, but Sanchez was a non-tender candidate – in other words, there are doubts that he’s even worth the $5-6 million he’s going to get for 2012, let alone being worth that and a player like Cabrera.

      • rbt

        Non-tender Sanchez, just so there’s room for Zito in the rotation? Doubt it.

      • Coldneck

        I couldn’t disagree with you more, Ace. True: Sanchez has control issues. But he is one injury plagued year away from striking out 200 and posting a 3.00 ERA. He’s a power lefty and is still on the good side of 30. The Royals made out like bandits. Melky had a good season but he can’t play a decent CF and has been terrible most of his MLB career. Lets not forget that he was non-tendered by the Braves just one year ago. He’s a corner outfielder that may not have enough bat to play there. I would have loved Sanchez for the Cubs. Low risk / high reward for KC, especially since they have a solid CF prospect ready to take Cabrera’s place.

        • Brett

          I guess we agree to disagree. If the Royals sold Cabrera on the open market, I just think they could have done better than a pitcher with one good season two years ago, and who was at risk for being non-tendered. And I’m not saying I love Cabrera. I don’t think the Royals got ripped or anything like that. Just think they could have done better.

  • Luke

    I think the Cubs could pull together another Garza sized package if they needed to. I’m just not sure who is out there that would be worth that kind of an investment. I like Gonzalez enough to watch him closely and make an offer to him as a free agent in a few years, or possibly try to trade for him as the final piece for the Cubs in 2013 or so, but I don’t like him as a guy to build a rotation around.

  • oswego chris

    the sad fact is there may not be many options for us to get excited about as far as player movement this off-season…I am curious as to why the Braves are trying to peddle Jair Jurrjens(whose name I always thought sounded like a Star Wars character)

    Sizemore-someone will overpay
    Wright- health concerns and just not worth the prospects at this point
    Cuddyer- someone will overpay

    I think creative trading is the way to go…..

    • Luke

      Creative trading, or patience.

      I have no problem playing LaHair, Flaherty, Jackson, LeMahieu, and Cashner plenty early in the season while aggressively promoting Lake, Vitters, Ha, Clevenger, Szczur, and that army of prospects in the lower minors as they warrant it, and then see where things stand at the trade deadline.

      If a second wild card is added for 2012 (unlikely it will happen that soon), the Cubs could be in the hunt with much of the same roster (plus some decent starting pitching).

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        I like the agressive thinking but don’t have any realistic hopes for any of these players outside of Sczur, Cashner, and Jackson. The reason there is such an army of prospects is because the minors were over hyped by Hendry, Fleita, and Wilken. Sure, their numbers look good- in the minors. But every other team has 5 or 6 guys (or more) that have equally crazy numbers.
        Statistically when you bat 40-50 guys on a regular basis among the combined lower minors teams against questionable pitching you better have at least 5-6 guys hitting .400, crazy slugging, and tons of homers. But when you put them up against real pitching you get less than Tyler Colvin.

  • die hard

    If they sign even one FA then I fear that this will be an org which will repeat past mistakes. If these front office wonderkind are truly committed to staying for entire 5 yr contracts, then they will show it by taking baby steps beginning with using next year to truly evaluate what we have above and below. To do so may require taking it on the chin but hey they signed up to right the ship which will take a long time as we are on an aircraft carrier, not a 30 ft speed boat.

    • Wilbur

      Diehard, I’m confused!

      I can’t make the connection between this comment and one you made earlier today when you had the whole front office (my exaggeration) leaving for better jobs. I’m befuddled by your change your heart. Which way do you want to go? Cheer for them to stay and not sign anyone or plead for Rickets to fire them all now and save the money.

      I need some direction here.

      • Fishin Phil

        Poor Wilbur,  we warned you not to try to follow die hard’s “logic”.   

        OK guys, we need another straight-jacket over here.

        • http://Bleachernation Bric

          “Wiiii….llll….bbb….uuuu…rrrrr”. Sorry bro, it’s the only thing I ever think of when I see your posts. For the younger generation that doesn’t get it- google or youtube a thing called “Mr. Ed.”

          • Wilbur

            Actually the nickname Wilbur goes back to my college days when Wilbur Mills got caught drunk in the Tidal Basin with Fannie Flagg (those were the days when our politicians ran around with strippers versus interns). The circumstances for the nickname I will not reveal as I’m not positive all statutes of limitations have expired.

            As for Willll … burrrr, my question always was what was Wilbur spending so much time out in the barn talking to the horse for when his smoking hot wife was back in the house, at least that’s what befuddled this pre-teen. I was (many say still am) slow, but not that slow …

            Anyway, I digress. I’m a big fan of Diehard, I love his cynicism in face of overwhelming optimism.

  • Ryan

    Jon Heyman just tweeted that Mike Maddux has withdrawn himself from consideration for the Red Sox manager job.

    • Hawkeye

      When it comes to Heyman tweets, don’t forget your grains of salt, folks.

  • Ryan

    Carrie Muskat is jumping on the bandwagon too. I know that isn’t saying much though.

  • Cliffy

    With Maddux removing himself from consideration for Boston GM job, does anyone else think he reached out thru back channels to make that decision? Back channels = Greg Maddux = Theo Epstein hows working with Larry Lucchino like.

  • Fishin Phil

    This whole Maddux taking him out of consideration for Boston thing makes no sense to me.

    • JulioZuleta

      Something already in the works with the Cubs? Seems strange a couple of days before the interview, but what other explanation could there be?

      • Aaron

        I saw a statement by him that said he wants to stay in TX for family reasons. In the same report, they author said that the Cubs were still in play somehow… I don’t see it.

        • Luke

          Cubs are closer to TX… same time zone anyway. That could make enough of a difference to him. Joining the same team as his brother could still be pretty attractive too.

          I can’t see the Cubs reaching a back door deal with him before the interview, though. That would be pretty strange.

      • Dave H

        Maybe it’s one of those “Theo knows what he wants” scenarios.

  • jim

    Two words for ricketts: buyer’s remorse

    • Brett

      Um … wha?

  • jim

    Btw, i’ll have what luke’s having.

    • Dave H

      What a little dose of common sense?!

  • ricky

    Blook buster trade in the works, between the cubs and redsox, part of the Theo compasation.

    O by the way Theo is over rated

    • Jim Kress

      2 World Series rings and a winning record every year as GM with a team that hadn’t won in 86 years, you’re right highly overrated. I mean the only other team that’s won at least 2 WS in the last 20 years is…..O yea, only 3 of the 29 other teams have done that. The Blue Jays in 92 and 93. The dreadful Cardinals, and of course the Yankees. And a winning record in possibly the hardest division in baseball for 10 years straight, yea this guy is crap. I mean not to mention the caliber front office he’s already brought in, in a matter of weeks since being announced President of Baseball Operations. Or the headlines stolen from the Cards, also the hope and joy he’s already brought to Cubs fans after an abomination of a season. Please tell me, how exactly is he overrated again?